Graphics card questions

Customer has a current model IBM desktop computer with XP Pro.  One of his friends has 'informed' him that the standard graphics capabilities built into desktop computers is inferior, and that he would be better off installing a graphics card so he could get clearer, higher resolution when viewing digital photos, powerpoint presentations, adobe files, etc.  Gaming is not an issue here.

Not having run into this before, I need advice and recommendations:

1) Is this assertion accurate?

2) Can I install a graphics card in the desktop, and somehow disable the internal graphics, allowing him to leave his monitor connected to the new card, where it boots up and runs on the new card with no hassles?

3) I need recommendations on a good graphics card that meets this need.  TIA
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sasllcAsked:
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_Commented:
1) For the most part, an addon card will give you better output than an onboard chip. Although the newest onboard stuff is getting closer.

2) It's done all the time. Boot into the BIOS, and disable the onboard settings, shut down and unplug the system, put the new card in, and reboot and load the drivers.

<note>
Some mobos have jumpers on it you have to change. Others do it automatically. Check the mobo manual, it should say.

3) That would depend on how "new" the mobo is. Does it have APG or PCI-E 16x slot?
Either way I would do Nvidia 6800 or Ati X850. Or newer. You did say games were not an issue, so the latest and greatest is not needed. One or two releases back, with work well.
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cashcompCommented:
oki dok:

digital photographs are dealt with by the 2D portion of any video card or integrated video chipset.  adding a REAL video card to that will NOT help any.

you can install asecondary PCI video card that will be limited by the BUS bandwidth moreso than the integrated AGP chipset.

most, if not all, video cards made are for video games or 3D artistry NOT digital photos.  the only way to enhance, or speed up the process, is to upgrade the CPU, RAM & PSU.

good luck,

cashcomp
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Chris BRetiredCommented:
Agree with Cashcomp

1) Is this assertion accurate? For general display - most unlikely

2) Can I install a graphics card in the desktop, and somehow disable the internal graphics, allowing him to leave his monitor connected to the new card, where it boots up and runs on the new card with no hassles? Yes.

3) I need recommendations on a good graphics card that meets this need.  TIA The internal AGP will be fine. An external AGP for this purpose will be essentially the same, an external PCI will be not as good.

Chris B
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_Commented:
Thank you much.    : )

Cashcomp and burrcm have a valid point about not much noticeable difference, using onboard verses addon, for 2D and General Display.
PowerPoint will probably show more.
The monitor (display) that is used will also have an effect on how it looks.

Another thing to think about:
the addon card will take some of the video load off the cpu, making it seem perkier. And it has its own ram, so you can freeup the mobo ram for use, instead of having to "share" it with the onboard video.

Isn't hardware fun.   : D
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